1 Weird Tip for Better Hair

Shampoo less!

That’s right, cut down shampoo frequency to every other day (one day on, one day off). This tip is actually not that weird, shampooing with a lower frequency than daily has an “underground” following and is the first action I advise men to take when they come to me seeking better hair.

But, why would shampooing less be better than using shampoo daily?

Just like I explained to you in this introductory article, your scalp secretes a special type of oil called sebum which acts to coat your hair throughout. This sebum is great for strengthening the individual hair strands and is essential to keeping your hair shiny and looking healthy. Thing is, conventional shampoos contain a type of sulfate-based cleansing ingredient, most commonly sodium lauryl sulfate, which acts as a detergent and removes everything and anything off your hair, from bird excrements to your naturally produced sebum. So while the sebaceous glands in your scalp are working hard to secrete sebum to coat your hair, you are doing them a disfavor by using a product to remove the preciously secreted natural oil.

 

Rogelio with his curly hair and two weeks no shampoo for the Men's Hair Blog

Not sold yet? This is me chilling out one morning as I documented how my hair dried. Two weeks of no shampoo in this pic, not bad huh?

 

Now, cutting down on shampoo frequency doesn’t mean that you must now stop bathing altogether and start calling yourself “Flower Child on a Rainbow Day”. Not at all.

Simply go about dropping shampoo frequency by skipping one shampoo day every second day and, on the day that you don’t shampoo, go about your usual bathroom and grooming routine excluding the shampoo: cleanse your hair with running water (instead of shampoo) and massage your scalp as you soak your mane with the running water. You can also use a conventional conditioner as a pseudo-shampoo since most conditioners act as mild detergents without incorporating the harsh sulfate-based ingredients of shampoos. Alternatively, you can use the juice of a squeezed lemon as a natural shampoo or even use diluted vinegar as 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water (just don’t get the stuff in your eyes!).

I have personally carried extensive testing on different frequencies of shampoo, having documented one of my experiments as I went a whopping 30 days using no shampoo nor any other hair products on my hair. I have some thick long curls and I also produce a hefty amount of sebum yet I found my hair to hold up, aesthetic and odour-wise, just fine by the end of the 30 day period. My friend David, from the Almost Bohemian blog, has gone even longer without shampoo, just over 150 days actually, and you could not tell he was skipping the stuff. For what is worth, David and I have social lives so rest assured that if going so long without shampoo had impeded our ability to be social, we’d have stopped the experiments and quite possibly not have even talked about it on our blogs!

As a rule of thumb, the curlier the hair (think Type V/kinky hair) the lower the shampoo frequency. In terms of length, the longer the hair, the lower the frequency of shampoo should be too, all other variables equal. I will be covering this topic at greater length but hold onto these 2 rules for now if you want to give dropping shampoo frequency a try. I recommend you to first start with a 1 on/1 off day-frequency and drop shampoo frequency by an extra day every 2 weeks until you find a noticeable benefit to your hair. Most dudes find somewhere between 1 on/1 off to once a week to be the ideal frequency, merely tweak it slowly as aforementioned to find your optimal frequency.

So there, start by cutting down your shampoo frequency to one day on/one day off instead of the usual daily frequency that us men have been brainwashed to follow and see for yourself the benefit that this one weird tip for better hair will bring to your locks. Tried and tested!

All the best.

Rogelio

For your male grooming needs, visit the Barbershop Forums, the mens style and fashion community with some epic male grooming stuff thrown in!

11 comments for “1 Weird Tip for Better Hair

  1. David
    June 20, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Thanks for the hat tip!

    It’s strange how simple it is, and how good the results can be. I’m now back on the shampoo wagon, but it’s only a few times a month, or whenever I feel the need. My hair is a bit shorter than it was, but the point remains.

    Let’s hope a few less chemicals in our scalps will catch on!

    • June 22, 2012 at 5:07 pm

      Hi David,

      Yeah, such a simple trick can give great results! Glad to hear from you buddy.

      All the best.

  2. Nikita
    August 6, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    Should I still shampoo if im sweaty because I do soccer every day

    • August 8, 2012 at 10:53 pm

      Hello nikita,

      You don’t need to shampoo every day even though you do soccer. In your case, your best bet is to shampoo every other day (i.e. shampoo one day, don’t shampoo the next). On the days that you do not shampoo, you can do the Sebum Coating method as explained in the following article which I recommend you to also read for shampoo use for men:

      http://www.manlycurls.com/2012/05/no-poo-method-curly-men-shampoo-guide/

      Any other questions, feel free to let me know.

      All the best.

  3. Abhishek
    July 10, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    Should I use a conditioner everytime I dont shampoo my hair?

    • September 9, 2013 at 10:22 pm

      No need to use a conditioner on the days that you do not shampoo; however, do always use a conditioner after shampooing your hair.

      Best

  4. Gil
    October 1, 2014 at 1:33 am

    Hello!

    I just recently purchased your book and I must say that it is perhaps the most enlightening read about my hair that I have ever had. I’ve always been afraid to ask about these kind of questions for fear that I am being too “feminine” about my hair. Just assumed that I didn’t have good hair. Anyways, I got a question regarding the shower frequency:

    You seem to assume that the male is taking a shower every day. I know this may sound gross, but not all males (including me) take showers every day. I think in my case that’s because I am not very active and my body odor is slow to be recognizable. I take a shower about twice a week and I thought that was enough, until now. Is my shower frequency affecting the health of my hair? I’m guessing I should start taking a shower every day and perhaps use the 1 on/ 3 off schedule for starters?

    It’s interesting but I already get compliments about my hair (S/M/1.13/ll) and I barely do anything about it. I’m not sure if it’s the sebum but after 2-3 days without a shower, I notice that my wavy hair is silkier and more sleek. Though that may partly have to do with the fact that I tend to put my hands through my hair. The problem is that how good my hair looks tends to be random. So I’m hoping to control it… Sometimes it’s poofy-like, and other times its more defined.

    • October 3, 2014 at 2:06 pm

      Hi Gil,

      Yes, in the book I assume daily showering, although I am perfectly aware that there are some men who don’t. At the end of the book in the Questions & Answers chapter, I give details on how to mix and match any showering (or not) with your hair grooming.

      With my Sebum Coating method, you are supposed to wet your hair every day; on those days that you don’t shampoo, you simply wet the hair and briefly run your fingers through your locks to spread any released sebum (which is released every day) as well as so as to clean your hair (the fingers alone with running water do act as a mild cleaning solution).

      If you don’t shower daily, then you quite likely aren’t sweating enough to really cause any issues on your scalp, so you would be fine with not wetting your hair either. For what is worth, since on your non shampooing days all you need is water, then this can be combined with simply wetting the rest of your body (without using any skin products) just to refresh yourself. Just a thought in case you are fine with simply hopping in the shower and wetting your body for a couple of minutes only.

      Congratulations on you hair starting to look better! Part of that is indeed the sebum, not to mention that only using your fingers on your waves (instead of a comb) will also improve the shape of your curls. Yes, the goal is to get to a point where it all is automatized so that you can rely on your hair and be done with its daily grooming and caring in mere minutes.

      Keep me updated!

      Rogelio

      • Gil
        October 6, 2014 at 11:41 pm

        Thank you so much for the quick reply and great support. If I could I would buy the book all over again. I’ll do what you suggested and attempt to take a water shower on the days that I need to do the sebum coating method. So far I’ve noticed that my hair is weighing down and isn’t poofing up as it did before. I’m not sure if this is good or bad yet because I sometimes get compliments (before I read this book) that my hair was pretty cool, oddly enough. Others thought it was a bit too poofy. It had its good and bad days, in other words. For the longest time my hair has been impossible to put down, until now. The only way I can explain it is by showing images, if that’s okay:

        Before MHB (on a good day): http://i62.tinypic.com/212xyty.jpg
        Before MHB (on a bad day): http://i61.tinypic.com/2yv7vqa.jpg

        After MHB: http://i61.tinypic.com/1fcr9i.jpg

        Mind you I’ve only been using the sebum-coating method and haven’t been taking a shower every day, but I have been doing it more often. And I know that in the book you say that my hair won’t look its best in the first week or so. Right now I haven’t done used any leave-in conditioning. I’m attempting to find what my hair looks like at its most “natural.” Also planning to get a haircut but I figured I should wait until I’ve tried this method for more than a week. Next hair cut will be the undercut that you recommend.

        Also, when I took a shower, my hair locks seem to be rather thick. I think that’s normal. Another thing with my scalp is that if I scratch it then I get this stuff oily skin like stuff. I am guessing it’s just sebum coated dandruff. I’ll probably need to get some dandruff shampoo as your book suggests and then conditioner. You would recommend not getting all-in-1 conditioning shampoos, right? And I got to find a good leave-in conditioner and found one that you recommended (Bumble and Bumble) but it was a bit expensive. Hopefully going cheaper doesn’t sacrifice the quality too much.

        Anyways, I’m ranting and I’m sorry for taking too much of your time here as I am sure you got more important things to do. But any comments (however brief) would be appreciated!

  5. Gil
    October 2, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    I posted a lengthier comment before but I guess it didn’t get submitted. To summarize, I bought your book and I noticed that you assume men are taking showers every day. Now I know it sounds disgusting not to but not all of us are active or around people to do it as often. But given your sebum coating method, it would require daily showers right?

    • October 3, 2014 at 2:06 pm

      Just replied to your main comment.

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